Deuteronomy 20:8-11

8 Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”
9 When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace.
11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you.

Deuteronomy 20:8-11 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 20

In this chapter rules are given to be observed in times of war. When a battle was near, a priest was to address the soldiers, and encourage them to fight, De 20:1-4, then the officers were to declare who might return home, De 20:5-9 when an enemy's city was approached, peace was to be proclaimed on certain conditions, which, if accepted of, the inhabitants were to be tributaries and servants, but if not, when taken, all were to be put to the sword, excepting women, children, and cattle, De 20:10-15, but those of the seven nations were to be utterly destroyed, De 20:16-18, and, during a siege, no trees bearing fruit fit for food were to be cut down, De 20:19.

Deuteronomy 20:8-11 In-Context

6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it.
7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.”
8 Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”
9 When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace.
11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you.
12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city.
13 When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Judges 7:3
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 2:26; Luke 14:31-32
  • 3. ver 15; 2 Kings 6:22
  • 4. 1 Kings 9:21; 1 Chronicles 22:2; Isaiah 31:8